U.S. attorney goes private | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 8, 2008

U.S. attorney goes private

Posted By on Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 10:14 AM

A change in administration typically means a new team of U.S. attorneys around the country, so it's not a surprise that Robert Balfe, the U.S. attorney in Fort Smith, is making a career change. He'll be joining Little Rock's Mitchell firm to lead a new government investigations and white collar crime team.

There are certainly numerous members of the outgoing administration -- and those who benefitted from Bush era lawlessness -- that I'd like to see in need of an attorney.

SUCCESSOR? Who knows. Here's one name, Conner Eldridge, an Arkadelphia banker and former Blanche Lincoln staffer. The Western District covers half of Arkansas. It is not foreordained that the seat go to a NWA lawyer, particularly given what that part of the state has done for Democrats.

NEWS RELEASE

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Dec. 8, 2008) – U.S. Attorney Robert C. Balfe will join Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, P.L.L.C., a Little Rock-based law firm with offices in Arkansas, Austin and New York , effective Jan. 5 to lead its new Government Investigations, Enforcement and White Collar Crime team. The practice will focus on white collar crime, government and internal corporate investigations, immigration, fraud, false claims and commercial litigation. 

Balfe served four years of public service in the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Western District of Arkansas before stepping down this month. He has directed the prosecution of federal crimes including mail and wire fraud, public corruption, child pornography, firearms violations, narcotics trafficking, corporate fraud, and terrorism financing.

“Bob’s in-depth understanding of the issues involved in criminal cases will enable him to provide comprehensive and strategic counsel and representation to our clients,” Mitchell Williams Managing Director Harry Hamlin said. “He is highly respected for his outstanding record as a federal prosecutor and his ability to be measured and fair. He is an important addition to our firm.”

During his tenure, Balfe implemented an aggressive initiative against child predators. Designated “Project Safe Childhood”, this initiative partnered the United States Attorney’s Office with federal, state, and local law enforcement to track down and prosecute child sex predators and child pornographers. During the past four years, indictments for Project Safe Childhood crimes have increased 800%.

In 2008, Balfe’s office joined with the Internal Revenue Service to initiate a new task force dedicated to identifying and prosecuting those committing financial crimes and, under his direction, also emphasized the prosecution of violent crime, drug trafficking, white collar fraud, and immigration violations.

“In making the transition from government service to private practice, I sought an opportunity that would draw on the full range of my skills and experience,” Balfe said.  “Mitchell Williams' prominent litigation group and commitment to expand to meet the needs and demands of today’s global business climate made it an obvious choice for me.”

As United States Attorney, Balfe also served as Chairman of the Controlled Substances and Asset Forfeiture Subcommittee of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, a group of 30 United States Attorneys across the country focusing on the Department of Justice’s efforts against drug trafficking. Additionally, he served as Chairman of the Methamphetamine Working Group and was a member of the Border and Immigration Subcommittee and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Working Group of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.

 Prior to his term, he was the elected prosecuting attorney for Benton County from 2001 to 2004.

 

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